WASHINGTON—On November 15, 2020, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) opens RECLAMATION: Recipes, Remedies, and Rituals, a new participatory exhibition featuring nine interdisciplinary artists. Conceived as a virtual experience that recontextualizes the traditional role of women in providing sustenance and healing, RECLAMATION is online through January 3, 2021.
RECLAMATION is an evolving exhibition and ingredient archive that examines food as a creative medium for visual art and a connective tool for exploring intergenerational and intercultural experiences. The exhibition centers around a kitchen table, the central domestic object for gatherings of family and friends. Nine artists will activate their own kitchen tables, sharing photographs, videos and stories about how they use this domestic object. These intimate glimpses into the artists’ homes simultaneously reveal a work of art and the process by which it is made.
Through a digital ingredient archive, developed in partnership with the Family Arts Museum and Ten-Fifteen Media, online visitors can participate in the exhibition by sharing recipes, anecdotes, photos and reflections related to food. Submissions will be layered with the artists’ work, creating a dynamic portal for exploring the interconnectedness of food and the communal nature of nourishing and curing the body. In this way, both artists and viewers will use those materials to honor women’s roles in the practices and traditions surrounding food.
“Now more than ever people are looking to interact with one another in meaningful ways,” said Melani N. Douglass, NWMA director of public programs. “We are exploring how and if an exhibition can be a source of comfort and care during a time like this by connecting with artists and visitors at one of the most intimate spaces in the home: the kitchen table.”
RECLAMATION is accompanied by related virtual programs, including Fresh Talk: Place and Power on Sunday, November 15, from 4:30–6 p.m. Culinary historian Laura Shapiro, interdisciplinary artist Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz and food rights activist Ianne Fields Stewart will discuss questions of global food access, gender, class and labor.
About the Artists
Sharayna Ashanti Christmas is a social entrepreneur, creative and producer. Over the last 15 years, she has served in many capacities, including performer, creative director, facilitator and collaborator—to help develop and sustain ecosystems that support creatives and the communities that they live in and serve. With her mother, she founded Muse 360 Arts, a nonprofit that served over 1,000 youth and their families annually with creative entrepreneurship opportunities, high quality dance training and opportunities to study abroad.
In 2017, she founded Necessary Tomorrows, a radical platform for underrepresented creatives. To date, the platform has worked with 32 artists, selling over $42,000 of artwork with no commission, produced 16 shows, hosted seven studio visits and created six new artist collaborations. Early this year, the Necessary Tomorrows Fund launched to provide $5,000 to Black creatives in Baltimore to support their livelihood.
Christmas was the 2011 recipient of the Rising Star Award from the Living Classroom Foundation and received the Leading Women 40 Under 40 Award from The Daily Record in 2013. She is the 2015 recipient of the New York Women’s Auxiliary Excellence Award and is a 2016 graduate of the Greater Baltimore Committee LEADership Program. Christmas holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Morgan State University.
Djassi DaCosta Johnson is a native New Yorker, classically trained modern dancer, choreographer, photographer, filmmaker, designer, writer and doula. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Barnard College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance, new media and technology from New York University’s Tish School of the Arts, where she was a Dean’s Fellow. Djassi has worked internationally as a dancer, actor, choreographer and creative director for fashion films, photo shoots and industrial showcases.
As a doula, her work extends to homeopathic, holistic and herbal healing as well as cloth diaper advocacy, education and extended breastfeeding support. She is currently developing a documentary project in conjunction with midwife Barri Malek on Black maternal health advocacy and the importance of sharing birth stores in order to shift the narrative around women and birth in in our global culture.
Djassi is currently in the process of birthing the first fine arts dance degree at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix, where she teaches dance and humanities as an assistant professor.
Jenny Dorsey is a professional chef, author and speaker specializing in multi-platform storytelling, fusing food with social good. She leads a nonprofit community organization, Studio ATAO, and runs her own culinary consulting business. A former management consultant with a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University, Dorsey decided to completely pivot her career and pursue the world of food. She worked at various Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City and San Francisco as well as in corporate food research and development before finding her voice using food as a form of social activism. She has written for outlets such as VICE, Eater, Serious Eats, Food & Wine and Narratively and often speaks on the topic of food and identity. She most recently gave her first TEDx talk, “How Food Can Be a Source of Identity, Intimacy and Vulnerability.”
Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin is a Korean community artist. Her life experience growing up as a third culture kid, born in Canada, and raised in the United States and Korea, informs her interest in transnational, intercultural and social practice art. Shin recently received her Master of Fine Arts degree in community arts from Maryland Institute College of Art. She incorporates the methodology of community organizing and storytelling in her art, focusing on building local leadership through creative platforms that promote solidarity and community voices. Shin facilitates the creation of artistic narrative projects as a vehicle to nurture culture, build community and bring awareness to the Korean community in Baltimore.
Tsedaye Makonnen is an interdisciplinary artist whose studio, curatorial and research-based practice threads together her identity as a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, a Black American woman, a doula and a mother. Makonnen invests in the trans-historical forced migration of Black communities across the globe and Black womxnhood. She is the recent recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, DC Public Library Maker Residency, DC Oral History Collaborative grant and Art on the Vine’s Savage-Lewis Artist Residency in Martha’s Vineyard. She has performed at the Venice Biennale, Art Basel Miami, Chale Wote Street Art Festival (Ghana), El Museo del Barrio, Fendika Cultural Center (Ethiopia), Festival International d’Art Performance (Martinique), Queens Museum and various Smithsonian museums. She has spoken on migration and intersectional feminism at the Hirshhorn Museum, Black Portraitures conference, Common Field and New York University.
Maggie Pate is the designer and purveyor of Nåde, a natural dye studio.She began her career in fashion, modeling internationally, then retired to work for a label in New York City. Her work in textiles explores the synthesis of textures, repetition and geometry. Recently, her focus has shifted to cultivating a studio that is 100% sustainable and eco-friendly through capturing color predominantly with food waste collected from local restaurants and farms.
Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz is an award-winning interdisciplinary visual and performance artist. She is interested in pop, hip-hop, and comic culture, portraying their intersections in murals, performance, and video-based works. She is the recipient of a 2019–20 Artists-in-Action Award from the Art & History Museums, Maitland; University of Central Florida (UCF) 2018 Women of Distinction Award; UCF LIFE Award; 2018 Research Incentive Award; 2017 UCF Luminary Award; 2016 Franklin Furnace Grant for performance; 2016 United States Artist Fellow nominee; UCF’s 2016 Woman Making History honoree; 2016 Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition semifinalist; 2015 Orlando Museum of Art, Florida, Prize in Contemporary Art; 2013 Creative Capital “On Our Radar” honorable mention; and 2011 UCF Keeper of the Creed Award in Creativity. Raimundi-Ortiz was a class of 2008 Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Art Ralph Bunche Fellow and holds degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology, the State University of New York and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is an associate professor at the University of Central Florida.
Lauren Von Der Pool graduated fromLe Cordon Bleu and has worked with many notable chefs, including Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters. Von Der Pool has also worked as a personal chef for many prominent celebrities, including Patti Labelle, Common, Stevie Wonder, Novak Djokovic and Venus and Serena Williams. Von Der Pool has catered many high-profile events like the Oscars, Grammys, BET Honors, BET Awards, Espys, MTV Music Awards, Billboard Awards, Congressional Black Caucus, Screen Actor Guild Awards, Olympics, Wimbledon and many others. In 2009, former First Lady Michelle Obamainvited Von Der Pool to serve as an executive chef for Let’s Move, her childhood obesity prevention campaign.
Von Der Pool has dedicated much of her career conveying the importance of healthy living. Through her nonprofit Von Der Pool Healthy Living Services and her Fresh City Kids movement, she is committed to healing the world through food, agricultural awareness and self-empowerment.
Melani N. Douglass, NMWA’s director of public programs, heads the groundbreaking Women, Arts and Social Change (WASC) initiative. At NMWA, Douglass cultivates a network of artists, curators, collectors, journalists, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and influencers who understand the power of art to shape and transform society. Through long range planning and strategic community engagement rooted in strong community partnerships, she expands the impact and reach of NMWA’s public program initiatives.
Prior to her position at NMWA, Douglass established the community engagement department at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre and founded the Family Arts Museum, a nomadic institution that celebrates and documents family as fine art. Douglass has over ten years of experience engaging communities through the arts. Douglass holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in curatorial practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Women, Arts, and Social Change
Women, Arts, and Social Change (WASC) is a public programs initiative, launched in October 2015, that highlights the power of women and the arts as catalysts for change. Fresh Talk, the initiative’s signature program, features cause-driven conversations with artists, designers, activists, social innovators, filmmakers, writers and more. These programs empower women, spark community involvement and engage new audiences. In a typical season, WASC attendees gather at Sunday Supper, a communal meal served family-style, or Catalyst, a cocktail hour with a topic and a twist. This year, all programs are online, and each Fresh Talk includes virtual breakout rooms to encourage similar connections in the digital sphere.
The Women, Arts, and Social Change public programs initiative is made possible through leadership gifts from Denise Littlefield Sobel, the Davis/Dauray Family Fund, the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family, and the Susan and Jim Swartz Public Programs Fund. Additional funding is provided by the Bernstein Family Foundation. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs and online content, the museum inspires dynamic exchanges about art and ideas. NMWA advocates for better representation of women artists and serves as a vital center for thought leadership, community engagement and social change. NMWA addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art by bringing to light important women artists of the past while promoting great women artists working today. The collections highlight painting, sculpture, photography and video by artists including Louise Bourgeois, Mary Cassatt, Judy Chicago, Frida Kahlo, Shirin Neshat, Faith Ringgold, Pipilotti Rist, Amy Sherald and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun.
NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. It is open Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sun., noon–5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youths 18 and under. Admission is free the first and third Sundays of each month. For information, call 202-783-5000, visit nmwa.org, Broad Strokes blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.